Java is a programming language that was developed at Sun Microsystems with the aim of enabling communication between consumer electronic devices. The fun fact about Java is that its new versions are released every six months. Currently, we have Java 17, the latest version for now, as of December 2021. In the year 1995, the first version of Java, Alpha and Beta was released. Since then, additional features are being added with each upgrade. Now you may wonder why Java is one of the popular programming languages, as you might have heard about it often. The reason is actually quite simple. We choose programming languages that are easy to develop projects. The project nature may vary greatly and can get complicated at times. During such time, opting for a robust programming language proves to be profitable and less burdensome. This was a quick overview of Java, now let’s take a deep look into its advantages and disadvantages.
Advantages of Java
We have got different types of programming languages that are either compiled or interpreted. The program is directly translated in the compiled ones, whereas, an interpreter performs the function of translating in the interpreted ones. But did you know, Java integrates both of these concepts? Here, the Java compiler converts the source code into byte code, which is then interpreted by the Java Virtual Machine. This is to say, you get the feature of integration and flexibility together. Some other advantages of Java are as follows-
In the overview, we mentioned Java is easy to use. Now let’s examine why is this the case. Java has a simple syntax that is easy to understand. The syntax is nothing but the rules using which the program is written and interpreted. The class, method, and program file are named uniquely and used for different purposes. Then, we have variables, arrays, enums, identifiers, and modifiers, which makes the code comprehensible. The concepts in Java are simple, unlike other programming languages that are difficult to grasp in the first place.
2. High-level programming language
Well, in the above section we discussed Java is a simple programming language, but this shouldn’t give you an impression that it is an elementary one. In fact, the opposite is true. It is a high-level programming language, which is programmer-friendly. The term high-level indicates it is easy to understand by the programmer, in comparison to the machine. It is also simple to debug and maintain.
Java is an object-oriented programming language where the code is separated into units to develop. In Java, there are object-oriented concepts such as inheritance, abstraction, encapsulation, and polymorphism. In inheritance, the classes can adopt the properties of other classes, which saves time in development significantly. The different types of inheritance are single, multiple, multilevel, hierarchical, and hybrid. In abstraction, only the essential elements are displayed, which reduces the complexity. In encapsulation, the implementation details are hidden by making the member or methods of the class private. In polymorphism, an action can be performed in different ways. It is used to build generic frameworks.
4. Platform independent
In the earlier section, we saw source code is converted to byte code, which is then converted to machine code by Java Virtual Machine(JVM). Since the JVM converts the byte code to machine language, Java is platform-independent. In other words, you can run a Java program wherever the environment is present. Also, there are different JVM for each platform.
There’s no doubt that Java is a stable language, as it has been continuously upgrading and staying relevant. It has a massive community where millions of people contribute. And as we have already discussed, the updates are rolled out every six months, so with time more and more features get added.
Java has a concept of multithreading where multiple threads, the small unit of processing, run simultaneously. The obvious advantage is that we can multitask more, which in turn helps us to gain maximum utilization of the CPU. It also saves a lot of time. Plus, these threads are independent. So if one thread faces an exception, the others can run efficiently.
Disadvantages of Java
We have gone through quite a lot of advantages, from the ease of use to multitasking. Now let’s see what is there on the other side that might force you to use a Java alternative. Here are some disadvantages of Java.
1. Verbose code
Java is a high-level programming language where many words are used in the code. This makes the code verbose and is definitely not ideal when you are developing complex projects. Initially, the verbose code will help you understand the language better, but over time, it can actually complicate the language more. Too many words make the language more transparent, but at the same time make it more lengthy.
2. GUI look and feel
When compared to native applications, the look and feel of Java Graphical User Interface(GUI) are not that great. There are many frameworks such as JavaFX, Swing, SWT, and JSF for building GUI. But when it comes to building a complicated UI, these options are not convenient. The reason is interface inconsistencies.
3. Comparatively slower
When the language is low-level, easily understood by machines, they get the advantage in terms of performance. But Java is a high-level language, easily understood by programmers in comparison to machines, so performance issues come as no surprise. Also, Java provides the feature of garbage collection, where the memory is managed automatically. But on the flip side, excessive garbage collection can increase CPU usage, which leads to performance issues. It checks the program regularly, taking control from the programmer. It can also introduce delays which can be very unpredictable.
4. Consumes a large amount of memory
The concept of Java Virtual Machine can be a blessing when it comes to portability, but the same cannot be said when it comes to memory consumption. JVM uses more memory in the form of the heap, stack, metaspace, and overhead. This means it consumes a large amount of memory compared to other programming languages.